What is the Teacher Leader Program About?
About twenty educators––high/junior high school teachers and other education specialists––joined the first informational meeting for the Ten Questions Teacher Leader Program that took place at Harvard University on October 21, 2017. The Ten Questions framework is versatile––it can be used for classroom instruction, book discussion, debates, action projects, and media projects in various educational settings (see examples here). The aim of the Leader Program is to gather wisdom from teachers; it invites teachers to expand application of the Ten Questions in various educational settings. The participant teachers will then teach other teachers about the framework, based on their experiences, in professional development venues.
The information meeting covered basic information about what the Ten Questions framework is, where it came from, and how it could help those teaching civic participation in a digital age, as well as how the Leader Program would progress. The teachers also shared a variety of issues that mattered to them, not only pedagogic concerns, but institutional challenges beyond the classroom. These included:
- colonial heritage in the classroom
- internship experience
- teaching students with disabilities about civic participation
- storytelling and youth journalism
- youth participatory action research
- issues of immigration and project-based learning
- human rights education
- leadership education
- teaching diverse perspectives
- authentic teaching and learning
- institutional opposition to teaching “political” issues (e.g., pushback from administrators and the self-censorship that results)
- challenges experienced as minority education professionals.
The three-hour meeting was far too short to cover all these issues. In fact, they are among the biggest challenges educators consistently face. I am curious about how teachers might grapple with them and how the Ten Questions come into play. As they experiment with the Ten Questions, teachers will reflect on their practice, guided by these: What counts as success? How did they tackle the issue? What progress did they make? What did they learn from their undertaking? and what issues are left unresolved?
After the informational meeting, teachers were going to brainstorm and plan future activities on their own until the February meeting, scheduled for Saturday, February 10, 2018. The substantive activities based on the Ten Questions will take place in February and May of 2018.
* Click the menu tab on the right for examples created by our teacher participants. More will be added in in January 2018.